Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins
The BlackArmor 440 was tested with our standard NAS test process with 4000.0181 firmware and four 1 TB Seagate ST31000333AS Barracuda 7200.11, 7200 RPM, 32 MB drives. Tests were run with 100 and 1000 Mbps LAN connections in RAID 0, 5 and 10 modes.
I first checked backup performance to an Iomega UltraMax Pro Desktop Hard Drive configured in RAID 0 attached via USB 2.0. The test copies a 4.35 GB ripped DVD test folder that I use in the NAS Chart Vista SP1 file copy tests from the NAS to the attached drive. The results are summarized in Table 1, which show very slow backup performance.
|Product||Backup Throughput (MBytes/s)|
|USB - FAT32||4.98|
|USB - NTFS||1.95|
Table 1: Backup throughput test summary
It's not surprising to see low performance with NTFS, since most NASes use a free open source driver that limits performance with that format. But a business class NAS, especially one with up to 8 TB of storage, needs to do better than 5 MB/s for backup! For comparison, the single-drive QNAP TS-119, which uses the same Marvell processor and half the memory, measured just shy of 21 MB/s on the same test!
Figure 18 presents a summary of the write benchmark tests run for the BA 440. The combined striping and mirroring provided by RAID 10 really help boost performance back up toward the highest RAID 0 line, but at the cost of less usable storage. Write performance with a 1000 Mbps LAN connection averaged over the 32 MB to 4 GB file sizes and with cached results above 125 MB/s removed from the average comes in at 29.8, 22.3 and 28.1 MB/s for RAID 0, 5 and 10 writes, respectively.
Figure 18: Performance benchmark summary - write
Figure 19 shows the average read performance for the same test configurations which came in higher at 33.5, 35.3 and 30.8 MB/s for RAID 0, 5 and 10, respectively.
Figure 19: Performance benchmark summary - read
Vista SP1 filecopy results measured 27.2, 20.2 and 23.9 MB/s for RAID 0, 5 and 10 writes and 47.5, 50.4 and 39.4 MB/s for reads.
For the competitive comparison, I took chose the Buffalo TeraStation III, another recently-released four-drive business focused NAS and Thecus' three-drive N3200 Pro, a new three-drive product. Figure 20 shows that the RAID 5 write performance converges toward the low 20 MB/s range for all three products, once file size gets out beyond NAS RAM size. Note that each product uses a different processor, the Buffalo a Marvell MV78100-A0 C080 and the Thecus an AMD LX800. The Buffalo has 512 MB of memory and the other two have 256 MB.
Figure 20: Competitive write comparison - RAID 5, 1000 Mbps LAN
Figure 21 compares the RAID 5 read performance, which shows a wider range. The BA 440 is the most consistent, settling in around 33 MB/s at the larger file sizes. The Buffalo and Thecus read speeds rise until file sizes equal their RAM sizes, then fall back into the 40 to 40 MB/s range. At any rate, both the Thecus and Buffalo have higher RAID 5 read speed.
Figure 21: Competitive read comparison - RAID 5, 1000 Mbps LAN
Use the NAS Charts to further explore performance.